We would like to share some interesting projects we have been working on over the past few months. Our blog has been rather dormant as we have been extremely busy with new and existing clients - and we will try to do better, promise!
Off grid street light and pumping system
This project is interesting because it integrates several components together to form a complete monitoring and control system. A lithium battery bank of 48v is connected to a Victron inverter and solar charge controller. A Sundrax street light controller is connected to a string of 10 street lights over powerline communication, and bridged to Wattmon via Modbus RTU. The Victron is connected to Wattmon via RS232 for monitoring and via a digital output to force charge from the grid if and when necessary. A vortex filtration pump is also controlled via Wattmon at specific times of the day when energy is available. An AC power meter is also connected over Modbus RTU providing a comprehensive overview of the entire system. What makes this project unique is that it seamlessly bridges components that would not normally work together and provides a smart platform that helps optimise the use of renewable energy while at the same time ensuring the overall health of the batteries. We have also integrated it with a university project focussed on weather prediction, and it regularly updates its run schedules based on data from their engine.
Remote Power Monitoring
We have worked together with a multinational power company to provide a remote view of a 250MW power plant using Wattmon. One wattmon device at the power plant collects active power values from a meter and pushes it every 15 seconds to a second wattmon installed at the main headquarters. This data is then shown on a large 4 digit display in the control room allowing for immediate responses to anomalies. We achieved this using MQTT and both devices are connected via 3G dongles making this type of solution truly portable.
Power control with Multiple Diesel Generators
A one megawatt power plant installed at a factory provides fuel saving when one or more diesel generators are running. The challenge with a diesel generator is to ensure that a certain load is always present to prevent tripping the system, especially when this is used in a factory where certain processes require uninterrupted power. The additional challenge in this project is that we had to monitor 4 diesel generators and set the solar production levels to match the acceptable limits. Each genset had a different power rating. We also implemented dynamic power factor correction at the inverter to increase the overall efficiency.